Police targetting drivers who text and talk behind the wheel across Norfolk and Suffolk
Police constabularies in Norfolk and Suffolk are targetting drivers who use their mobile phones while behind the wheel - aiming to make the offence as socially unacceptable as drink and drug driving.
The week-long enforcement campaign, dubbed Operation Ringtone, will run from today (Monday, September 17) until Sunday, and coincides with a nationwide campaign led by the National Police Chiefs' Council.
Officers from the Roads and Armed Policing Team and Road Casualty Reduction Team will be carrying-out extra patrols using both marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles.
These vehicles are fitted with cameras to obtain evidence to help ensure successful prosecutions.
Temporary superintendent Kris Barnard, head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "Driving while using a mobile phone is one of the ‘fatal four' offences which makes you more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision - alongside speeding, drink/drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
"If drivers are talking, texting or using the internet on their phones, then they are distracted from the job at hand and less aware of potential hazards."
During the most recent campaign held in January, 121 traffic offence reports were issued in Norfolk to drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving, with 122 issued in Suffolk .
Both Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies will also being supporting Project Edward (European Day Without A Road Death) this week.
Supported by all 30 European Traffic Police Network member countries, the project will take place on Wednesday with the target that no one should die on the roads on that day.
Temporary superintendent Barnard made clear the consequences of being caught using a mobile phone while driving while driving.
"The new penalties introduced in March last year saw both the fines and penalties for this offence double," he explained.
"So, anyone caught faces a £200 fine and six penalty points on their licence.
"This has a significant impact for new drivers, as anyone within two years of passing their driving test receiving six penalty points will lose their licence.
"We are determined to make this offence as socially unacceptable as drink and drug driving and this stigma combined with the stiffer penalties are, in my opinion, beginning to contribute to a gradual fall in offences.”